There are some places that you can never ignore while traveling and Table Mountain is one of them! You do however hope and pray that the weather is going to be okay and that the table does not have a tablecloth on the day you decide to visit. The climb is really only worth it when the sky is blue so that you can see the 360-degree view. The adventurers can climb the mountain taking about just an hour to the top, or you enjoy the scenic cable car ride that costs 195 rand or about $25. Once you make it to the top in about 5 minutes, you can walk around the entire mountain- finding views of Camp’s Bay on one side and downtown Cape Town on the other. There is even a souvenir shop and café if you want to spend more of your day on the mountain. You will not be rushed down, and the cable cars come very frequently.
Shark Cage Diving
Everyone hears about the great white sharks of South Africa and so I need to experience it for myself. Every shark diving company might claim that they have the best diving locations or are the most consistent in viewing the sharks, but I took my chances and went with Marine Dynamics based out of Hermanus. The drive takes about 1.5 hours from downtown Cape Town, but is extremely stunning if you take the coast. A bit nervous at first I arrived and was ready to encounter one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Meeting at the Great White House, the cost to go diving is 1250 Rand or about $150. I was extremely impressed with the way the operation was run. You started out eating a nice lunch and had a brief video and introduction to the day’s events. On a boat designed for about 40 people, we all received a wet suit, life jacket and windbreaker before embarking on the seas. Once on the boat we headed out near Dyer Island home to a sea lion colony of about 50,000, meaning there is plenty of food available for these Great Whites passing through. One thing I found very interesting is I was told that these are never the same sharks that are coming up to the boat. Many have been tracked and make their way all the way to Australia and come back through the following year. Once we spotted several Great Whites I wanted to be one of the first in the water. Now, the seas were very rough so I also wanted to get in before I got too sick (which I was hoping it wouldn’t happen). Quickly I was put in a cage with a mask on with six other people. The seas were so rough that we would bang into one another and while the sea hands were dragging the fish heads in front of the cage, the continuously would yell at you “Down Right,” “Down Front,” etc. telling you exactly where to look for the shark. It was complete chaos but it made the thrill of seeing the sharks worth it. I’m not going to lie there were a few times where I was getting thrown around in the cage and would notice my hands or feet slipping out of the cage. A few times the shark would bang his tail into the cage and one time I looked right down its throat. In total there were about nine sharks circling the cage, which made this day out on the sea one of the companies best! I was in the cage for about 20 minutes and it was worth every second. I think I had the best viewing of all the groups, so I would recommend going first especially if sharks are in the area. Another thing was probably 20 of 40 people did get sick onboard, but luckily I was not one of them. Snacks were also served onboard and we stayed out on the sea for about 3 hours. I worked on my sea legs and when we arrived back on land, I was extremely happy I picked Marine Dynamics.
The Bush- Northern South Africa
To get to the bush or where many want to travel to Kruger National Park or private game reserves, I took a direct flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Unfortunately I did not give myself any time to explore this city, but I had more of a desire to explore Cape Town during my journey. From Johannesburg I had a direct flight to Nelspruit or Kruger National Park, which only took 30 minutes on a small jumper plane from Johannesburg.
Elephant Whispers is a top-notch opportunity to get up close and personal with African Elephants. Owned by Seasons in Africa, the guides of the program will teach you all about the African Elephant, how it survives in the wild, how many still exist and all about an elephants behavior. I was extremely impressed with the various sizes of the elephants, which can live up to 75 years old. There was one elephant in particular named Tambo, who was probably two times larger than the others and was only 28 years old. I also learned that the best way to tell whether or not it was an African elephant would be to look at the ears and you will see they are in the shape of Africa. The elephants were taken to Elephant Whispers from private game reserves where luckily there has been an increase amount in the wild. They are treated extremely well and guests are allowed to touch, feed, even stand underneath them! At the end of the presentation you can ride the elephant through the bush. I had the opportunity to do it at sunset, which made it a perfect way to end the day.